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Folk on Foot
31 minutes | 12 days ago
6 Songs from Season 5
A selection of unique performances recorded on location for Folk on Foot by Frank Turner, Kitty Macfarlane, Chris Wood, Johnny Flynn, Ninebarrow and O’Hooley and Tidow. If you’ve already heard all their episodes it’s a great way to re-live the experience and if you haven’t it could tempt you to explore artists whose music is new to you.
54 minutes | a month ago
O'Hooley & Tidow in the Colne Valley
Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow created one of the most memorable sets of our summer Festivals, filmed at their home in the village of Golcar in West Yorkshire. They have an uncanny ability to move you to tears one moment then have you roaring with laughter the next. In summer 2020 they were planning to capitalise on the new found fame caused by having their song “Gentleman Jack” as the theme tune of Sally Wainwright’s hit BBC One period drama based on the life of Anne Lister. But the lockdown put paid to all the touring they’d planned. So they stayed at home in the beautiful Colne Valley, taking full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy watching their one year old son Flynn grow and learn. On our walk along the canal (with Flynn in the sling) they share the lullabies they use to soothe him to sleep. They also sing “Colne Valley Hearts” which celebrates the many characters they’ve met in the area and “The Hum” which responds to the noise of a local factory. We end up at the Dark Woods Coffee Roastery where there’s a delicious Americano and a handy piano for Belinda to play. As we walk on they spot a wonderful acoustic under a bridge, so Belinda unpacks her accordion and the duo give a poignant performance of Richard Thompson’s “Down Where The Drunkards Roll”. Along the way we hear the story of their very different musical childhoods, how Heidi overcame her fear of singing in public and how they met. Join us for a warm conversation with two of the UK folk scene’s most original talents.
56 minutes | 2 months ago
Johnny Flynn on the Hackney Marshes
Johnny Flynn is a talented stage and screen actor who is also a wonderful musician. You may have heard his theme tune for the brilliant TV comedy Detectorists, or seen him on the big screen in the recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, or on stage alongside Sir Mark Rylance in the acclaimed play “Jerusalem”. In our first post lockdown episode, Johnny takes Matthew Bannister for a walk on the Hackney Marshes, a huge expanse of public land which has no fewer than 88 football pitches alongside a nature reserve which has grown up in disused gravel pits. As well as singing his distinctive, haunting songs, Johnny relates his near miss with a bear on the Camino to Santiago and talks about his friendship with the nature writer Robert Macfarlane. He tells Matthew about his father - who was an actor and singer – about his own boyhood experiences of being a choral scholar at Winchester and the revelation of discovering Bob Dylan’s music as a teenager. On song writing, Johnny says “It’s easier to produce complex music, but much harder to make music that sounds just right in its simplicity”. Another fascinating conversation with one of the UK’s most creative performers.
128 minutes | 3 months ago
Bonus Episode: Folk on Foot Festival 3: TOGETHER AGAIN: Highlights
Another extraordinary Bank Holiday Monday virtual Festival from Folk on Foot, this time re-uniting musicians who couldn’t play together during the lockdown. The Breath; Eliza Carthy and David Delarre; Johnny Flynn and his band; Julie Fowlis, Éamon Doorley and Duncan Chisholm; Karine Polwart, Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson; Kris Drever, John McCusker and Phil Cunningham; Lady Nade, Kit Hawes and Aaron Catlow; Nancy Kerr, Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting; Peggy Seeger, Neill and Calum MacColl; Rachel Newton and Lauren MacColl; Sam Lee and his band; Show of Hands and Spiers and Boden. We have hand-picked the glorious highlights from seven hours of beautiful music for you to enjoy.
58 minutes | 4 months ago
Chris Wood in Faversham
The award winning singer, songwriter and guitarist Chris Wood has lived in Kent all his life. “If you keep moving around, how much can you trust your judgement?” he asks. “If you stop where you are, the world does eventually come to you.” Since the Brexit referendum and election of 2019, Chris has been in challenging mood. On this walk with his dog Dancer and Matthew Bannister, Chris performs his song “Take Back Control” and contrasts the commuters on the London-bound platform at 6 every morning with what he calls “the slope-shouldered, whey-faced broken people” in Faversham’s greasy spoons and declining market place. “This is my muse,” he tells me. “This darkness and this hypocrisy and these contradictions – I thrive on it”. Sometimes he feels the only way forward is to follow the simple philosophy: “be kind and grow a garden”. As he takes Matthew out onto the marshes around the Faversham creek, Chris reminisces about sailing the coastal waters with his Dad, then waxes lyrical about lying down for a nap in the reeds and waking to the enormous expanse of sky. He sings his setting of a John Clare poem. There’s also time to visit his allotment – although Chris says his wife Clare is the gardener and he is simply the “old, broken-down tractor”. A fascinating and thought-provoking conversation with one of England’s most acutely observant and poetic songwriters.
53 minutes | 4 months ago
Kitty Macfarlane on the Somerset Levels
Kitty Macfarlane is known for her pure voice, poetic song writing and passion for the natural world. She was nominated for the Horizon award at the 2019 Radio 2 Folk Awards. Kitty was born and brought up in Somerset and is often inspired by the landscape of the county. On this unexpectedly sunny January walk, she and Matthew Bannister climb the historic Burrow Mump hill. Here she sings a song inspired by the view, “Man Friendship”. As they walk along the nearby river, Kitty stops to sing her song about migration: “Glass Eel”. Then it’s off to her favourite bird sanctuary where they observe many different species and she sings her song about witnessing a murmuration of starlings. Finally, they discuss the influence of William Blake and John Taverner, before she sings “Lamb”. It is another thought provoking and uplifting episode.
53 minutes | 4 months ago
Frank Turner on the Holloway Road
On the surface Frank Turner is a man of contrasts: the old Etonian who became a punk; the heavy metal fan who became a folk-influenced singer songwriter. On this walk through his old haunts on the Holloway Road in North London he reveals the inspiration for his change in musical direction, calling in at the venue Nambucca where “the scales fell from my eyes” and he discovered the power of “three chords and the truth”. In the empty venue he plays the songs he wrote about the creative scene there, before heading down the road to The Garage, where his passion for punk was ignited. Along the way he reflects on the history of the area, his own sofa-surfing experiences, his tattoos and his relationship with his mother.
13 minutes | 5 months ago
Season 5 Trailer
A delicious taster of some of the amazing new episodes coming your way in season 5 of Folk on Foot. Recorded before the lockdown, we’ve been walking with Kitty Macfarlane on the Somerset Levels, Chris Wood in Faversham and Frank Turner on the Holloway Road in North London. In this trailer you’ll hear some short extracts and details of three additional episodes we’re planning to record in summer 2020.
30 minutes | 6 months ago
Bonus Episode: Seven Songs from Season 4
Here’s a chance to re-visit some of the musical highlights of season 4 of Folk on Foot – complete and uninterrupted. It features “Queen of Waters” by Nancy Kerr, “Scapa Flow 1919” by Kris Drever, “Sleeping Beauty” by Bella Hardy, “I’m a Woman on Wheels” by Peggy Seeger, “The Token” by Rachel Newton, “Walking Through Ithonside” by John Jones and the Reluctant Ramblers and The Melrose Quartet singing “Bright New Year”. Transport yourself to simpler, happier times as you enjoy these unique on location recordings. Then stand by for season 5 which will launch very soon.
120 minutes | 6 months ago
Bonus Episode: Front Room Festival 2 Highlights
On Monday 25th May – Spring Bank Holiday in the UK – we staged the Folk on Foot Front Room Festival 2 with an astonishing line up of artists. The show lasted for eight hours – but we have distilled it down to two hours of highlights, featuring: Cara Dillon and Sam Lakeman, Chris Wood, Duncan Chisholm, Eliza Carthy, Frank Turner and Jess Guise, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, John Smith, Johnny Flynn, Kate Rusby and Damien O’Kane, Kathryn Tickell, Kitty Macfarlane, O’Hooley and Tidow, Richard Thompson and Zara Phillips, Rioghnach Connolly and Ellis Davies – all playing from their front rooms (and gardens). Plus the online premiere of a behind the scenes film of the Unthanks on their recent “unaccompanied” tour. It was a remarkable and emotional day which raised loads of money for musicians who can’t work during the lockdown – enjoy!
31 minutes | 7 months ago
Bonus Episode: Jarlath Henderson at the Isle of Skye Festival of Small Halls
Jarlath Henderson has been described as the “Jimi Hendrix of the uilleann pipes”. He is also a fine singer and accomplished player of the whistle. At the age of 17 he became the youngest ever winner of the Radio 2 Young Folk award. He comes from Northern Ireland but has now made his home in Scotland where he combines his musical career with working as a doctor in emergency medicine. This episode was recorded last November while he was taking part in the Isle of Skye Small Halls Festival and long before he started to play his part in tackling Covid 19.
32 minutes | 7 months ago
Bonus Episode: Su-a Lee at the Isle of Skye Festival of Small Halls
Another episode recorded at the Isle of Skye Festival of Small Halls in November 2019. Su-a Lee is a classically trained cellist and a member of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, but she loves breaking down musical barriers. With the group Mr McFall’s Chamber she’s played contemporary classical music in night clubs and she regularly collaborates with Scotland’s leading folk players, as she did at the Festival. She is also a keen walker and bagger of Munros. Sitting on a rock by the river at Sligachan, she tells Matthew Bannister the poignant story of climbing Ben Nevis with her cello on her back to pay musical tribute to her late husband shortly after he died. Then she unveils her secret weapon...
51 minutes | 7 months ago
Rachel Newton at the Isle of Skye Festival of Small Halls
The Edinburgh-born harpist, fiddle player and singer Rachel Newton was Radio 2’s Musician of the Year in 2017. She sings in both English and Gaelic and is a member of The Shee, The Furrow Collective and the Lost Words Spell Songs. We walked with her on the Isle of Skye in November 2019 where she was taking part in the wonderful Festival of Small Halls, in which top Scottish musicians come together to tour the community halls of the island. So, as well as our walk by the Fairy Pools, where Rachel plays and sings with the water bubbling behind her, you’ll hear extracts from packed gigs in the village hall at Glendale and the Old Inn at Carbost. And there’s even a cameo appearance by our old friend the fiddle player and composer Duncan Chisholm.
133 minutes | 7 months ago
Bonus Episode: Front Room Festival Highlights
On Easter Bank Holiday Monday, April 13th 2020, we organised the Folk on Foot Front Room Festival - seven and a half hours of wonderful folk music from 15 top artists playing in their front rooms, linked by Matthew Bannister from his. Bella Hardy, Beth Porter and the Bookshop Band, Jon Boden, Julie Fowlis and Éamon Doorley, Karine Polwart, Kerry Andrew/You are Wolf, Kris Drever, Lisa Knapp, Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Peggy Seeger, Rachel Newton, Sam Lee, Seth Lakeman and Steve Knightley all played sets of around 30 minutes. The festival raised thousands of pounds for musicians unable to work during the coronavirus lockdown. Here are some of the highlights of an amazing day.
44 minutes | 8 months ago
Bella Hardy in Edale
The singer, songwriter and fiddle player Bella Hardy was Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year in 2014. She takes Matthew for a rain-sodden walk through the majestic countryside of the Edale Valley in the Peak District where she was brought up and has now returned to live. Undaunted by the weather, they go to the Penny Pot café, the 1811 Methodist Chapel where Bella teaches a singing group and on to her mother’s cottage where they stop for very welcome tea, biscuits and songs, including a local Castleton carol and Bella’s own compositions “Sleeping Beauty” and “Tequila Moon”. On their way back up the valley they cross Broadlee Bank, inspiration for Bella’s haunting instrumental tune and are interrupted by a sheepdog rounding up his flock.
55 minutes | 9 months ago
Peggy Seeger in Iffley
After a life on the road, folk legend Peggy Seeger has settled in the village of Iffley on the outskirts of Oxford. In this episode she talks poignantly about her mother, Ruth Crawford, a talented composer who died when she was fifty-three and Peggy was just eighteen. Peggy recites a poem called “My Mother is Younger Than Me”. She sings old union songs, including “The Miner’s Prayer” which she says she doesn’t like because it asks the rich for pity – and “asking the rich to have pity is stupid – they won't”. Peggy recalls her time on the Greenham Common protests, shows us a piece of the wire fence she keeps on her mantelpiece and sings a song called “A Woman on Wheels” which is about a protester in a wheelchair who she saw using bolt cutters to breach that fence. There’s time to reflect on the influence of her older brother Pete and her husband Ewan Macoll and, of course to hear the true story behind the writing of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”. Come with us on a walk through Peggy Seeger’s life in an unforgettable episode of Folk on Foot.
50 minutes | 10 months ago
Kris Drever on Orkney
The guitarist, singer and songwriter Kris Drever – Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year 2017 - was born and brought up on Orkney, the archipelago of about 70 islands off the Northern coast of Scotland which is steeped in history. Kris takes Matthew Bannister for a walk, starting in the main town of Kirkwall with its huge sandstone cathedral commemorating St Magnus who came to an untimely end. In the graveyard Kris sings “Winter Moon”. Then they head off to the shores of the great natural harbour at Scapa Flow where Kris performs his powerful song about the scuttling of the entire German navy there in 1919. They end up at the chapel created in a nissen hut by Italian prisoners during the Second World War – a poignant setting for Kris’s song “Ghosts”. Along the way, Kris reflects on the influence of his musical parents; on Scotland’s fondness for strong drink and explains why he’s now moved to Shetland. It’s another great episode with a thoughtful and inspiring artist. Visit our website: https://www.folkonfoot.comSupport us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/folkonfoot
57 minutes | a year ago
Bonus Xmas Episode: The Sheffield Carols with Jon Boden, Bella Hardy and The Melrose Quartet
In search of the festive spirit of Christmas – and bearing gifts - we travel to the Peak District and Sheffield to hear the area’s unique local carols. Along the way we collect music from Jon Boden, Bella Hardy, The Melrose Quartet and the singers of the villages of Dungworth and Hathersage. We hear how the traditional carols written and sung by working people were thrown out of the church – and had to find a new home in the village pubs. Put on your Santa hat, reindeer antlers or Christmas jumper, get yourself a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie and join us.
43 minutes | a year ago
John Jones and the Reluctant Ramblers walking to the Wickham Festival
This episode has by far the largest cast of walkers we’ve ever assembled – and the most musicians. The lead singer of Oysterband John Jones started walking from gig to gig and singing on the way long before our podcast was invented. He’s done it all over the country and he’s usually accompanied by a bunch of fans who call themselves the Reluctant Ramblers. On a scorching hot summer’s day, we joined them for a walk over Old Winchester Hill, along part of the South Downs Way and the Meon Valley to the Wickham Festival. On top of the hill John and his band perform "Waking Through Ithonside". After lunch at the pub they give us “Ferryman” and on arrival at the festival the very appropriate “I Will Never Stop Moving”. Along the way John reflects on creativity and the effect of a recent brush with cancer on his view of life and making music It is a life-affirming journey through quintessential English countryside with one of folk rock’s leading singers. Become a patron of Folk on Foot at www.patreon.com/folkonfoot. Sign up for our newsletter at www.folkonfoot.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; @folkonfoot.
51 minutes | a year ago
Nancy Kerr along the Kennet and Avon Canal
For twelve years, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nancy Kerr lived on a narrow boat, travelling the length and breadth of England’s inland waterways. “We felt like it was a secret part of England and a part that had a different flavour and a different pace”. As she walks on the towpath with Matthew Bannister, she tells how the experience inspired many of her songs – and performs two of them: “Queen of Waters” and “Tiller Song”. Nancy explains that folk music was part of her upbringing, with her mother Sandra Kerr a well-known performer and her father a Northumbrian pipe player. She talks passionately about her love for nature and how it has infiltrated her music, including the moving “Dark Honey” which she sings with bees buzzing nearby. Did she ever fall in to the canal? “Yes, about once a month!” Become a patron of Folk on Foot at www.patreon.com/folkonfoot. Sign up for our newsletter at www.folkonfoot.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; @folkonfoot.
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